A FUND-RAISING mission is under way to make the dreams of an eight-year-old boy, who has battled a brain tumour for six years, come true.
And the heartwarming bid has already sparked a massive response, with around £2,000 of donations flooding in to help Brandon Ballance achieve his long-held wish to swim with dolphins.
The youngster, from Amble, was diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous growth on his brain when he was just two years old and has since had to endure gruelling courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and lengthy periods of time in hospital.
Now his mum Sarah Nicholson is trying to raise £15,000 to take her boy on holiday to America where he can fulfil his dream.
“Brandon is a little fighter. What he has been through and battled through for the last six years and for what he will continue to do, he deserves a medal,” said Sarah, 33.
“If anybody deserves this break, it is my little boy.”
The youngster was nominated a few years ago for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to swim with dolphins but he was not allowed to go because he was too poorly.
He chose a computer for his wish instead, but Sarah is hoping the community can come together and raise the money to help Brandon finally realise his dream.
“He used to see the adverts on the television and he has always wanted to swim with dolphins.
“We are trying to fulfil Brandon’s wish. It (the last six years) has just been a roller-coaster. I really feel sorry for him and he continues to fight this horrible thing.
“This would just be a dream come true for him and if it became a reality I think he would be speechless.
“Since this all started a couple of weeks ago, I have seen my boy smile again. He talks about it non-stop.”
A string of fund-raising events have been organised as the community rallies to support the inspirational youngster, while money has already poured in for the cause, including a cash pledge from MP Sir Alan Beith.
On March 19, a balloon race will take place at Lord Mayor Fields in Amble from noon, while Morpeth Sunday League football side River Coquet FC is holding a race night on March 25 at the town’s Schooner Inn from 7pm, which will feature a raffle as well as a sponsored head-shave and leg-wax.
On March 26, a sponsored walk will take place from Alnwick to Amble, starting at Morrisons’ car park, at 11am.
The Co-operative Funeral Care, in Amble, is hosting a sponsored car wash in the town on April 2 between 9.30am and 12.30pm, while a big event is planned for April 9 at Amble’s Radcliffe Workingmen’s Club, which will include a surprise guest appearance from a Britain’s Got Talent contestant. The family event will run from noon to 4pm.
Sarah, who also has a four-year-old daughter, Sienna, has thanked everyone who has donated money so far, including Samuel’s Children’s Charity which has given £100, and to the people behind the fund-raising activities and the public’s support.
She said: “I am overwhelmed. It is such a small community that we live in. To see everybody pulling together and want to do something for Brandon is absolutely fantastic. Obviously, they see Brandon and they know what he goes through on a day-to-day basis. Brandon touches the hearts of many people.
“I can’t thank people enough for what they are doing. I just hope they continue to support us on our journey and fulfil his wish.”
She added: “To get that phone call from Sir Alan Beith, saying he would like to donate, was amazing.”
It is not the first time the community has come together to help Brandon since his devastating diagnosis.
Scores of friends have rallied around the family to offer support and raise funds and in 2007 an amazing £37,000 was raised to take Brandon overseas for treatment, but he did not go after it was advised that he should continue to be treated in the UK.
The money was then donated to Ward 24 at Newcastle General Hospital.
In 2009, the inspirational youngster received a Brave Heart Award for his courageous fight against the condition.
For more information about the fund-raising events which are planned or to make a donation, call Sarah on 07725 147188.